Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Hen-of-the-Woods Recipe - Hen Tapenade Spread

Hen Tapenade on Crostini

Hen-of-the-Woods (Grifola frondosa) is an autumn mushroom we love. We received our first Hen from Russ Cohen in a trade for some jellies made from foraged wild foods, after we took a walk with him last year. Since then, we have been dreaming about the hen season. Joining the Connecticut Valley Mycological Society has taught us a lot about how to look for this beautiful polypore, such as preferred habitat, correct timing, and how to determine a desirable specimen vs. a too old or too young specimen. When cleaning the mushroom and separating the parts for drying, freezing, and eating fresh, we usually end up with a lot of very solid stems from the cores of the mushrooms. These solid cores form the base of a spread that is highly flavorful and almost meaty. We like to make a grilled cheese sandwich with a heavy layer of tapenade, or eat it just spread on crackers.

Hen-of-the-Woods Tapenade                       makes about 3 cups of tapenade

1/2 c. balsamic vinegar
1 c. soy sauce
1/4 c. olive oil
1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
1 pound hen-of-the-woods mushroom cores, cleaned and coarsely chopped
1 c. sliced shallots
4 large garlic cloves, chopped

4 T bread crumbs, as needed

1. In a large bowl combine the balsamic vinegar, soy sauce, olive oil, and black pepper. Add the chopped mushroom cores and marinate at least 2 hours.
2. Heat the oven to 375°F. Remove the mushroom from the marinade and add the shallots and garlic. Spread the marinated mushroom onto an oiled sheetpan and roast for 30 minutes, until tender and browned. Cool.
3. Now remove the shallots and garlic from the marinade and place on another sheetpan. Roast for 20 minutes until tender.
4. In a food processor, pulse the shallots and garlic until chopped finely. Add the roasted mushroom and pulse until a chunky paste forms. Up to 4 T of bread crumbs may need to be added to absorb extra moisture to make the tapenade spreadable.


Pioneer Woman at Heart said...

That looks very good. I have another question for you. I am collecting foxtail grass seeds. What's the best way to remove the seeds?

The 3 Foragers said...

We give the hairy tail a bit of a twist and squeeze to get the seeds out once they have dried a bit. Lots of hairs will come off too, so then we rub them around between our hands and winnow the debris out by pouring the heavier seeds between 2 bowls while (hopefully) the light breeze blows away the light hairs. Do a "high" pour by keeping the bowls about 2 feet apart from another.

Gretchen Steele said...

Thank you for sharing this yummy looking recipe! I am inundated with hen of the woods right now. Thankfully I have a long list of known producing trees making my foraging for this mushroom each fall quick and easy. Will be out again today checking the trees and have been looking for new ways to prepare this wonderful and flavorful mushroom.